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Aircraft Carriers: Procurement

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the delay in the construction of the two new aircraft carriers for the UK has resulted in job losses at dockyards. (143442)

[holding answer 18 June 2007]: No date has been set for commencement of manufacture of the future aircraft carriers and there has, therefore, been no delay. The main investment decision will be taken when we are confident that we have a robust, affordable deal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on dockyards in the UK if the Government decide to collaborate with France in the construction of the proposed two new aircraft carriers for the UK; (143444)

(2) what talks have taken place with members of the aircraft carrier alliance on the involvement of France in the construction of the proposed two new aircraft carriers for the UK;

(3) what discussions there have been with trades unions about the involvement of France in the construction of the proposed two new aircraft carriers for the UK;

[holding answers 18 June 2007]: We have always stressed that co-operation with France through industry-to-industry links may offer potential benefits to both nations. This was covered most recently when my noble Friend the Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support, Lord Drayson met with the trade unions and the Aircraft Carrier Alliance Chief Executive last month. It has been agreed with France that for co-operation to work, it must deliver cost savings and must do so without delaying UK or French programmes.